Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Tokyo: lineup of international stars climb to the top of the black belt division in Japan
The list of champions in the adult black belt division at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Tour Tokyo is the ultimate proof of how Jiu-Jitsu is really spread all over the globe, making it possible for talent competitors to come from wherever you think of. The ADGS Tokyo, held this weekend of July 27-28, at the Ota Gymnasium, in Japan, featured champions from 6 different countries in 11 different weight classes. There were 5 gold medalists from Brazil, two champions from Poland, and one first place finisher from the USA, Sweden, Japan and Australia. When you look at the podiums, there was an even more extensive list of countries present, including Mongolia, Belgium, France, South Korea and Ghana. This truly International display of talent and love for the sport thrilled the crowd on the stands as well as those watching at home online or on TV, Here's how each division played out to crown its champion.
MALE BLACK BELT
With Brazil's Thalison Soares not showing up to compete, the division turned into an all-Japan affair. Kei Ito moved straight to the final to face Masaaki Todokoro, who had defeated Nobuhiro Sawada 1-0 on advantages in the semifinal. Ito took the gold medal home by split referees decision following and 0-0 tie in a close match. Sawada completed the podium in third pace.
Jonas Andrade said thanks to Wanki Chae when the South Korean was a no-show for the semifinal. On the other side, Gabriel Sousa beat Japan's Tomoyuki Hashimoto by referees decision after a 0-0 tie on points. The gold medal match was also settled by the refs when a 0-0 tie on the scoreboard persisted after six minutes. By a 2-1 margin, Jonas celebrated the title. A foot lock attack right at the end probably was the narrow edge for Jonas to take the win. Tomoyuki Hashimoto competed the podium in 3rd place.
Kennedy Alencar had to compete three times to take the gold medal back to Los Angeles. He first choked Song Hyeongkeun from the back and then repeated the same finish against Jan Basso in the semifinal. On the other side, Thiago Macedo beat Jun Yong Cho 1-0 on advantages and then outscored Cleber Fernandes 4-2. The final was a close match and Kennedy worked his top game to build a 2-0 lead on advantages to secure the title. Jun Yong Cho completed the podium after beating Alberto Serrano, Jan Basso and Cleber Fernandes in the third place bracket.
Two for two for Diego! After winning in Moscow, he travelled to Japan wanting to stay on top. He debuted in the semifinal against well known rival Max Lindblad. A 4-1 lead put Diego in the final once again. On the other side of the bracket, Australia's Levi Jones-Leary finished Alexandre Molinaro and then caught Shinji Morito with a choke from the back to reach the final. The gold medal was decided in a tense and close six minutes of Jiu-Jitsu. After a takedown by Diego and a sweep by Levi, a third penalty to the Australian gave two points to the Brazilian and the 4-2 lead persisted until the end. Max Lindblad fought twice in the third place bracket beating Molinaro and Shinsuke Moribe for his spot on the podium.
American Nathan Mendelsohn fought twice to claim the gold medal. He first beat Akihiro Kawakami 8-0 to meet up with France's Thomas Mietz, who made it to the final with a 7-2 win over Dave Kim. The gold medal match was decided by a narrow 1-0 lead on advantages in favor of Nathan. Kawakami competed the podium after beating Kim in the third place bracket.
Adam Wardzinski is back on the top. His second gold medal in the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam came after two matches. He first beat Anton Minenko 11-0 to make it to the final. Brazil's Fernando dos Reis made it to the gold medal match with a 6-2 lead over Ghana's Rida Haisam. The title came Adam's way after a match he had under his control, but could not score lots of points. A narrow 1-0 lead on advantages was enough. Haisam beat Minenko in the third place bracket to complete the podium.
Poland made its second champion with Gerard Labinksi. In two matches, he first caught Dae Woong Lee with a choke from side control. His opponent in the final would be ADGS Moscow's 120kg champion Victor Hugo Martins, who also finished Lee. The final match saw Gerard sweep early and hold on to the 2-0 lead to take the win.
FEMALE BROWN/BLACK BELT
Mayssa Bastos is relentless. If there are no opponents in her natural 49kg division, she will go up to 55kg and still win the gold medal. She fought twice to claim the title. She first choked American Dorothy Dao in less than a minute (42s to be exact). On the other side of the bracket, Rikako Yuasa first beat Elina Moestan 1-0 and then finished Yuki Sugiuchi in the semifinal. The gold medal match was as close as expected when two technical giants meet. A 4-2 lead on points gave Mayssa yet another gold medal in her almost flawless ADGS career.
The division had two big favorites beforehand, but reality proved to be a tough pill to swallow. Australia's Hope Douglas first finished ADGS Moscow champion Larissa Paes with a leg lock and then meet up with 2018 ADGS Tokyo champion, Amal Amjahid, in the final, after Amal outscored Izabelle de Souza 20-2 in the semifinal. A 3-0 lead on advantages was enough for Douglas to join the club of ADGS champions. Larissa beat Miki Nakao and Izabelle de Souza in the third place bracket to complete the podium.
A three-women bracket saw Martina Gramenius and Buyandelger Battsogt make it to the final after beating Meagan Evans (2-0 for Buyandelger; choke from side control for Gramenius). The gold medal match was a nail-biter, as Gramenius was only able to score the winning two advantages in the very end of the math, ending with a 2-1 lead that earned her the gold medal.
Two matches and two wins by Gabrieli Pessanha over Marcela Caiafa. In the first match, Gabi worked a choke from the back for the finish. In the second match, Gabi quickly found a way to the mount and then slipped to an armbar to secure the title.
Relive the thrills of every match in Tokyo on Instagram at @jiujitsuworldmag and @ajptour. The 2019/2020 season of the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Tour now crosses the International Day line to land in Los Angeles, USA, on September 14-15. The registration period is already open and the early deadline is August 17. The final registration deadline is September 10. Hurry up and sign up now! The AJP expects the event to reach full capacity much earlier than the final deadlines. Know more and register at https://ajptour.com/en/event/191.